Edmonton Oilers prospect Ethan Bear already has an impressive resume and continues to add to it as time goes on.
The Assembly of First Nations honoured Bear in Regina Tuesday for his accomplishments and already outstanding career. The 2017 WHL defenceman of the year had a breakout campaign and led the Seattle Thunderbirds to a WHL Championship. Bear, 20, was also one of the league’s highest-scoring blueliners, registering 28 goals and 70 points through 67 games.
The Assembly of First Nations is an organization that represents “First Nation” or aboriginal citizens of Canada. Previously known as the Canadian National Indian Brotherhood in the early 1980s, the Assembly’s goals include protecting the rights and interest of First Nations, such as education and language. The Assembly includes over 900,000 people living in 634 First Nation communities and cities throughout Canada, according to its website.
Bear grew up on the Ochapowace First Nation in Whitewood, Saskatchewan and used to skate at the rink on the reservation. He left when he was 14 to continue his education and hockey development in Kelowna.
His hard work and dedication, as well as his passion for hockey, ultimately led him to the 2015 NHL Draft. Since being taken in the fifth round, Bear has continued to grow and is one of the Oilers’ top prospects. In addition, he has become an inspiration to other First Nations, as well as up-and-coming aboriginal players.
Going into the 2017-18 season, Bear will look to have a solid training camp and could even see some NHL action soon. He will likely start the year in Bakersfield but should play top-pairing minutes. No matter where he is, he is on his way to a promising pro career.